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India sets high ambitions – 100,000MW solar PV investment

India’s minister of energy Raj Kumar Singh, has announced government plans to launch an unprecedented bid for 100,000MW of new solar photovoltaic (PV) energy.

This the largest tender for new solar power capacity in the world to date.

Speaking to delegates at an event in New Delhi this month. Singh said: “The biggest tender was floated in Spain. We brought out a single tender of 10,000MW which would be opened in July. Now we will bring out a bid of one lakh MW which would also include solar manufacturing and storage,” The Economic Times reported. One lakh represents 100,000 units.

Climate Action reported that the 100,000MW tender, would far exceed anything that has ever been constructed, noting that the Minister did not reveal any project timelines.

Achieving targets

To meet this ambitious target, India’s solar PV capacity is on track to add 10,000MW of solar PV capacity in 2017-18, almost twice that of the increase in 2016-17.

The previous fiscal year had seen a record 5,526MW of solar capacity added.

“Our cumulative capacity was 19,584MW in end-February, and we will be crossing 22,000MW by March 31,” said Anand Kumar, secretary in the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) earlier this year.

“We have bid out 10,500MW of solar projects this year, as against 5,000MW in 2016-17,” he advised, adding: “We have also brought solar tariffs down to affordable levels.” Read more: India’s solar capacity ambitions ablaze with 100,000MW target

Rural electrification

With new generation targets set, universal electrification was a key priority for India.

In May, data released by the New Delhi government noted that all of India’s 597,464 census villages have been electrified.

The rural villages have been connected to the grid via the government’s Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana programme.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) census estimated there were 18,452 un-electrified villages. During project rollout it was found out that an additional 1,275 villages also didn’t have electricity access.

As of 28 April, all villages have been electrified, either through the national grid or off grid solutions. 1,236 Villages have been declared uninhabited and 35 have been notified as grazing reserves.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.